Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Senator Rockefeller Stands up for America


Yesterday Jay Rockefeller delivered a powerful speech on the US Senate floor. Here are excerpts:

"At its core, this is about accountability -- Congressional accountability and White House accountability.

"Congress has a fundamental, constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight -- that's what checks and balances are all about – and we have utterly failed.

"My colleagues and I have tried for two years to do our oversight work, and for two years we have been undermined, avoided, put off, and vilified by the other side. Any line of questioning that has brought us too close to the White House has been thwarted.

"At some point the majority needs to understand that we are willing to bring the Senate to a halt until they will join us in conducting the kind of investigation this situation demands.

"The American people still want to know -- now more than ever -- why the United States went to war, whether they were misled, and whether our intelligence was misused.

"Whether these actions amount to crimes is not the litmus test for congressional oversight. Mr. Fitzgerald is investigating possible criminal activity by senior White House officials, and we won't and shouldn't get in the way of his work.

"But the American people deserve to know not just whether this Administration committed crimes, but whether this Administration told the truth -- the full truth, the straight story.

"And if they didn't -- if they misled about the war and if they misused intelligence, then the American people need to know that the Congress will do everything in its power the make sure that it never happens again."

For more than two years, Senate Democrats have pressed Republicans to address the misuse of intelligence. At every turn, Republicans have blocked efforts to investigate how intelligence was used in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Below details the long record established by Democrats to investigatethis matter.

March 14, 2003 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Mueller requesting an investigation into the origin of the Niger documents.

May 23, 2003 Senators Roberts and Rockefeller sent a letter to the CIA and State Department Inspectors General to review issues related to the Niger documents.

June 2, 2003 ­ Senator Rockefeller issued a press release endorsing a statement made of the previous weekend by Senator Warner calling for a joint SSCI/SASC investigation.

June 4, 2003 ­ Senator Rockefeller issued a press release saying he would push for an investigation. Senator Roberts issued a press release saying calls for an investigation are premature.

June 10, 2003 Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts asking for an investigation.

June 11, 2003 ­ All Committee Democrats signed a letter to Senator Roberts asking for a meeting of the Committee to discuss the question of authorizing an inquiry into the intelligence that formed the basis for going to war.

June 11, 2003 ­ Senator Roberts issued a press release saying this is routine committee oversight, and that criticism of the intelligence community is unwarranted. Senator Rockefeller issued a press release calling the ongoing review inadequate.

June 20, 2003 ­ Senators Roberts and Rockefeller issued a joint press release laying out the scope of the inquiry.

August 13, 2003 Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts making 14 points about the investigation, asking to expand the inquiry to address the "use of intelligence by policy makers" and asking for several other actions.

September 9, 2003 After press reports quoting Senator Roberts as saying the investigation was almost over, Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts urging him not to rush to complete the investigation prematurely.

October 29, 2003 Senators Roberts and Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Tenet expressing in strong terms that he should provide documents that have been requested and make individuals available.

October 30, 2003 ­ Senators Roberts and Rockefeller sent letters to Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice expressing in strong terms that they should provide documents that have been requested and make individuals available.

October 31, 2003 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Tenet asking for documents related to the interaction between intelligence and policy makers, including the documents from the Vice President's officerelated to the Powell speech.

November 2, 2003 Senator Roberts made statements during a joint television appearance with Senator Rockefeller claiming that the White house would provide all documents they jointly requested.

December 5, 2003 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to National Security Advisor Rice asking for her help getting documents and access to individuals.

January 22, 2004 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Director Tenet asking for compliance with the Oct. 31 request for documents.

February 12, 2004 ­ Senators Roberts and Rockefeller issued a joint press release announcing the Committee's unanimous approval of the expansion of the Iraq review, to include use of intelligence in the form of public statements, and listing other aspects of what became Phase II.

March 23, 2004 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent yet another letter to Director Tenet asking for compliance with the Oct. 31 request for documents.

June 17, 2004 Senators Roberts and Rockefeller joint press release announcing the unanimous approval of the report.

July 16, 2004 ­ Committee Democrats sent a letter to Bush asking for the one page summary of the NIE prepared for Bush. The Committee staff had been allowed to review it but could not take notes and the Committee was never given a copy.

February 3, 2005 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts outlining Committee priorities for the coming year and encouraging completion of Phase II.

August 5, 2005 ­ Senator Rockefeller sent a letter to Senator Roberts expressing concern over the lack of progress on Phase II and calling for a draft to be presented to the Committee at a business meeting in September.

September 29, 2005 ­ All Committee Democrats joined in additional views to the annual Intelligence Authorization Bill criticizing the lack of progress on Phase II.

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